Thursday, November 19, 2015

Grey Lady Gossip Girls

Everything that is so, so wrong with national political coverage in just four paragraphs: 
Carolyn Ryan, the Times political editor, says that one of the thrills and pleasures of her job is hearing from reporters about what they see on the campaign trail.
The national political reporters Amy Chozick and Patrick Healy have been crisscrossing the country: Ms. Chozick’s reporting focuses on Hillary Rodham Clinton and her candidacy; Mr. Healy has covered the presidential campaign generally. In a lively, dishy conversation between campaign stops, the reporters chat with Ms. Ryan about Mrs. Clinton and her campaign.
 Informal and high-spirited, their conversation includes Mrs. Clinton’s snack of choice (jalapeño peppers, whole), her “badass” State Department look, her confidence level, the comparative political skills of Hillary versus Bill Clinton, and questions about the candidate’s authenticity. (Complete with revelations: “She’s brilliant at selfies.”) 
With a few seconds for bellyaching about bad coffee in certain parts of New England.
The above babble is a teaser for the latest entry in a new New York Times feature called "Insider," which also happens to be the name of a tabloid TV program about both Hollywood and Washington celebrities. The Times Insider, shockingly enough, is reserved for those special insiders willing to pay extra to enter a digital gated community recently built behind the pre-existing paywall, itself designed to keep out the lower orders without the bucks to spare for the elite content and government propaganda that the Paper of Record churns out on a near-constant basis.

In other words, the Insider is news for the affluent, who are not too concerned about the day-to-day angst of normal people. Why read about single payer healthcare and crumbling schools when you can learn about Hillary Clinton's snacks and selfie skills, and what a "badass" dresser she was over at the State Department?  Oh yes. To give that spicy edginess to coddling the wealthy behind closed digital doors, the Grey Lady has finally become laid-back enough to utter the word "badass!" Too bad that it took the paper nearly a decade to go big and bold enough to admit that "enhanced interrogation" is really torture.

I must be more privileged than I thought, because I could actually access the gossipy podcast behind the gated community behind the paywall as part of a temporary free admission policy in hopes that I might part with more money to become privy to Insiderism on a regular basis. Based upon what I heard, though, I would not join Times Insider even if it were free.

The above teaser was actually a blessedly short synopsis of the very tedious and strained verbal "conversation" that ensued.

In case you were wondering, the "everything else" that Patrick Healy covers is named Bernie Sanders, who is not mentioned any more often than the Times can help, lest the mere mention of his name destroy Hillary's chances. Healy, to my utter shock, comes to his Bernie Beat directly from the Times' theater beat. After all, he tittered in the podcast, what is politics but performance art? No wonder that his Bernie articles are so heavily dismissive of Sanders' hair, accent, posture and couture as well as so snidely critical of his lack of schmoozing and baby-kissing skills.

Amy Chozick, who covers the Clintons exclusively, is disappointed that Hillary is not more like Bill, who has this "incredibly high energy and people skills" that his wife sorely lacks. This, after Chozick helpfully leaked her strategy to become more authentic and funny. Hillary is still pretty much a living, breathing "Policy Pez Dispenser," cheerfully chuckled Chozick within the safe confines of the gated digital salon. Oh, and although Hillary doesn't much care for political reporters,  she absolutely adores Mark Landler, who covers the State Department for the Grey Lady. Chozick is s-o-o-o jealous that Hillary doesn't seem to like her as well, even though she is always unfailingly polite.

Meanwhile, Healy wallowed in his own shallowness by remarking, without a hint of irony within his gated community behind the Wall: "Hillary Clinton thinks reporters are interested in the story behind the story, and that's just not tru-u-u-e!"

I think I'll go choke on a jalapeño pepper.


Rima S. Regas said...

Thanks for posting this. Now I know not to avail myself of this freebie... Save my blood pressure for something else...

Pearl said...

A look at Bill and Hillary Clinton’s fundraising methods, from Little Rock to Washington and then across the globe.

A detailed lengthy report on how the Clintons became wealthy and important. Hope you can access it from the Washington Post. Hope it affects the Presidential sweepstakes.

General Jinjur said...

Speaking of Bernie Sanders. Is this something to be worried about? I'm torn given where the money is coming from but it worries me that he'll be seen as disingenuous...

Pearl said...

Hillary Clinton calls for U.S. to 'intensify and broaden' efforts to fight ISIS @CNNPolitics


Anonymous said...

Yep. Gated wall/paywall. I called the NYT last week to find out why I'd been restricted to 10 views a month and was told by the CSR, who'd been drinking too much of the coporate koolaide, that I had to pay more to get rid of that restriction. I think I'll stay "ignorant" and deal with the slower computer and spare the breathless foolishness and instead read about it on this blog. Bernie and KG forever! We need more truthtellers.

Meredith NYC said...

Right now Bernie Sanders is on Cspan giving a speech at Georgetown U, on democratic socialism to a fervent welcoming crowd. Repeated at about 245 a.m. or on video.

Meredith NYC said...

Bravo, Karen, thanks for this. If you can find a way to get some of it into a comment to a Times column, please do. so many more people can read it and respond. The Times deserves it.

Since we market our politicians like entertainment, the Times transferred Patrick Healy from Theater reviewing to politics. Like they shifted Bruni from restaurant reviewing to op ed page! The in crowd, you know. He’s a stylish writer sure, but..... well , he did dine with Trump once, he let us know. Must be on his resume.

Patrick Healy, in his 1st article about Sanders said he’s a far out underdog, likening him to the play about gays winning a long shot Tony award. So you never know.

What followed was a string of condescending articles, including the compulsively jokey Gail Collins who wouldn’t be caught dead writing something positive on Sanders. Or being sincere about anything.
Collins maintains her distance with silly humor that some readers seem to find cute. She called Sanders gruff, starting the trend of negative adjectives the Times kept throwing at him (with their stylish trendy writers who will never truly challenge the rich and powerful, but take the easy way out criticizing the Gop radical rw and pretending to be on the progressive side. )

The other lady on the op ed page (which is decades out of date in gender and racial equality)deals in nasty snark. They pretend to be feminists. It's all trivial distraction.

Ste-vo said...

Karen, Thank you for your wonderful comment to the OP-ED penned by Mr. David Brooks in the 11.20.15 NYT. That final sentence, "It's disgusting, and it's horrifying." says it all. It will ring in my head all day.

Pearl said...

Mrs. Clinton’s Syria Strategy

Even the nytimes is getting concerned and she isn't even in office yet.

General Jinjur said...

Sounds like a President one would like to sit down and have tea with...
Ps. I'm delighted that some program has determined I'm not a robot : )

General Jinjur said...

Mark Portier said...

I recently sent this email to the Times' public editors. I did not receive a response or acknowledgement of my query...

Dear Ms. Sullivan and Ms. Khatib:

Seven weeks ago your office completed a study of the Times’ coverage of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. You wrote:

“The Times has not ignored Mr. Sanders’s campaign, but it hasn’t always taken it very seriously. The tone of some stories is regrettably dismissive, even mocking at times. Some of that is focused on the candidate’s age, appearance and style, rather than what he has to say… The Times’s executive editor, Dean Baquet, told me recently that he wants to focus more heavily on issue stories in the coming weeks and months.”

Political Editor Carolyn Ryan responded contemptuously to your findings. This past Friday her desk saw fit to publish this article:

What gives? Where are the issue stories Dean Baquet promised?

Mark Portier

Pearl said...

This is the speech on socialism that Berny recently gave and that you mentioned, Meredith. It is truly quite magnificent and his best ever. Hope you can pick it up
from the letters above.

Stev-o said...


Thank you for your scathing comment to Patrick Healy's article in the 11.22.15 issue of the Sunday Times. All the comments that I read, and that is basically what I read, agreed that it is a reality problem, not an image problem. The top comment at 8:42 AM from ScottW in Chapel Hill, NC was the best. I took a phone call yesterday for a research firm asking questions on the two top Democratic candidates. The final question was "what one issue was most troubling to me about HRC?" Something like that. I paused for a moment and asked the questioner. "What ONE thing bothers me?" She repeated the question. I'm thinking I responded. "Her affiliation to Wall Street" was my response.

Karen Garcia said...

Thanks Stev-o. I'll be incorporating my comments and some others into an upcoming post. I was glad to see that the vast majority of respondents to Healy were suitably scath-erific!

Pearl said...

It was hard to track down Patrick Healy's comments about Hillary's ties to her sources of money for her campaign. And then found your excellent comment at the top Karen which you should put on our website.
It also seems that Mr. Healy has interesting things to say in other articles about Bernie Sanders that I listed above in the comments.

Thanks for posting Healy's article as it is often hard to find interesting columns and articles in the NYtimes as they are moved around and placed in different sections.
That is why I post articles that I read not knowing if others have found them.

I just watched Glenn Greenwald giving Hell on CNN to the CNN representative about the reporters pushing for war with ISIS and giving their personal opinions regarding Obama,s reluctance to do so. If anyone on Sardonicky can post it will help as I find it difficult to send it on with with their obscure posting choices.
There are two parts to the Greenwald interview on CNN.

Pearl said...

Here is the Greenwald interview:

Anti-Muslim Comments via @mediaite

Jay–Ottawa said...

Pearl, I had trouble with that link. Please, please post links on a dedicated line apart from other comments.

Here's an extended interview of Glenn Greenwald responding to, among other things, charges that Snowden was responsible for the Paris attacks. In this clip the segment begins at about minute 16:00.